My first entry into this journal is not quite about happiness but of a growing optimism. Inevitably, in striving for greater life fulfilment, there will be times when I make decisions that don’t immediately fill me with joy. Some of the things we do for happiness, such as exercising towards a fitness goal or working long hours to ultimately land a dream job, can be unpleasantly challenging in the meantime. Other things will simply feel like the wrong decisions.
Today I completed a challenge I’d been considering for several years: I cut off most of my hair. I didn’t expect it to be so emotionally affecting – so painful. I’d grown my hair for nearly five years with the intention to one day cut it off and donate the length of it to charity so that children going through chemotherapy have better access to free, real hair wigs. In order to make the haircut even more worthwhile I asked friends and family to sponsor me on JustGiving and raise funds for Brain Tumour Research and we have so far collected nearly £400 and that number is still rising! I am so grateful for the support and enthusiasm that has come my way and for the messages of encouragement this morning as I was on my way to the hairdresser.
The end result, however, is bittersweet. It will take some time to get used to this new look and to find ways of styling it that don’t make me look like Justin Beiber, Peter Pan, or Hillary Clinton. The next few times I wash my hair I will use far too much shampoo and conditioner. I will keep putting my emergency hairband on my wrist, forgetting that it is now entirely useless. I will continue to run my hands over the back of my head and realise in panic that my ponytail is missing. I will reach to un-tuck my hair from my bag strap every time I put it over my shoulder. And, in time, I will grow to love my hair again.
I will remember the people who supported me with their kind words and donations every time I look in the mirror. I will think of the little boy or girl receiving a free wig made of my hair from the Little Princess Trust to help them cope through chemotherapy. These children who are so young and so brave and so resilient in the face of cancer. I will think of all the money raised to aid research into brain tumours and fight to save lives so that people like my Aunt have a greater chance of surviving. I will remember Auntie Ann, who was taken too soon and who also rocked short hair. I will listen to every person telling me they’re pleased I did it or they like the haircut. I will quickly begin to believe them.
Above all I will acknowledge that it’s only hair, it will mean much more to someone else, and it will grow back.